Event-related potentials in semantic memory retrieval

Matthew R. Brier, Mandy J. Maguire, Gail D. Tillman, John Hart, Michael A. Kraut

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


The involvement of the left temporal lobe in semantics and object naming has been repeatedly demonstrated in the context of language comprehension; however, its role in the mechanisms and time course for the retrieval of an integrated object memory from its constituent features have not been well delineated. In this study, 19 young adults were presented with two features of an object (e.g., "desert" and "humps") and asked to determine whether these two features were congruent to form a retrieval of a specific object ("camel") or incongruent and formed no retrieval while event-related potentials (ERP) were recorded. Beginning around 750 ms the ERP retrieval and nonretrieval waveforms over the left anterior fronto-temporal region show significance differences, indicating distinct processes for retrievals and nonretrievals. In addition to providing further data implicating the left frontal-anterior temporal region in object memory/retrieval, the results provide insight into the time course of semantic processing related to object memory retrieval in this region. The likely semantic process at 750 ms in this task would be coactivation of feature representations common to the same object. The consistency of this finding suggests that the process is stable across individuals. The potential clinical applications are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)815-822
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of the International Neuropsychological Society
Issue number5
StatePublished - 2008


  • Categories
  • EEG
  • Features
  • Left temporal lobe
  • Memory recall
  • Object memory

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)
  • Clinical Psychology
  • Clinical Neurology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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